COVID-19: Powell Street Festival mask-making workshop, Whitecaps fundraising masks for Vancouver Aquarium

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      If you’re having trouble finding masks to wear during the pandemic, here are two options to consider. One will teach you how to make your own face covering using materials found at home while the other will support a local sealife institution that is struggling to survive.

      The Powell Street Festival and the Vancouver Park Board are teaming up to offer a free, online, and interactive workshop, led by Laura Fukumoto, to help people learn how to make durable and reusable face coverings.

      These masks will be made from items found around your home, including old bed sheets, t-shirts, bandanas, glue, safety pins, tape, staplers, wires, ties, and more.

      Even better, no sewing skills are required.

      The workshop will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. on May 20 and registration is available online.

      The Powell Street Festival, an annual celebration of Japanese and Japanese Canadian culture, announced on May 1 that it has cancelled its event scheduled to be held in Oppenheimer Park on August 1 and 2 but is searching for alternatives. 

      Vancouver Aquarium

      Meanwhile, a local sports team is pitching in to help save a local ocean and sealife organization facing severe financial challenges.

      Vancouver Whitecaps FC is selling facemasks to help raise funds for the Vancouver Aquarium.

      The non-profit aquarium and Ocean Wise Conservation Association announced in April that it needs to raise $1 million per month to maintain animal care and operations during its pandemic closure and to ensure its reopening.

      Cost-cutting measures that the Aquarium has taken include laying off 60 percent of staff, suspending Marine Mammal Rescue Centre operations, halting building maintenance, cutting travel for field research and Arctic conservation efforts, and voluntary pay cuts by senior executives. 

      “We have done everything in our power to reduce costs, but we still have more than 70,000 animals that need expert care,” Ocean Wise president and CEO Lasse Gustavsson stated in a news release. 

      Vancouver Aquarium

      These reusable, non-medical, polyester masks feature an internal sleeve pouch (for filters to be inserted into) and are available in different sizes and with various designs.

      Adult masks are available for $19.99 while child masks sell for $17.99 (plus tax and shipping), with all net proceeds going to the Vancouver Aquarium.

      More information about the masks is available at the Vancouver Whitecaps website and to purchase the masks, visit the Vancouver Aquarium website.

      Vancouver Aquarium

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